North Carolina and N.C. State met back in January in Raleigh. Lorenzo Brown went for 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Wolfpack to a 91-83 win over the Tar Heels. Brown’s opposition, Marcus Paige went 2-for-11 for seven points and four assists.
It wasn’t a terrible game for me, personally,” Paige sad according to the News & Observer. “But obviously it wasn’t a good game at all. So obviously there’s a lot of room to go up.
I’ve played a lot more ACC games now. So I’m just more seasoned, I guess, than I was earlier in the year. I’m better prepared. And plus we’ve played them already. [Brown] is a great player, so it will just be another great experience for me to get better.”
This will be not only a different game for Paige, but it’s also the first time N.C. State faces the smaller UNC lineup. P.J. Hairston has helped the Tar Heels win two of the last three games since being inserted into the starting lineup, including a 29-point outburst against Virginia, avenging an loss earlier this season. Although he did struggle in Tuesday’s win against Georgia Tech.
Saturday’s game between Carolina rivals will also separate a three-way tie for third place in the ACC standings. Miami remains undefeated while Duke is in sole possession of second. The Tar Heels and Wolfpack are tied with Virginia for third. North Carolina and Virginia split the season series, but the Cavaliers hold the tiebreaker over N.C. State.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.